Getting China’s metro rail systems on the right track

The booming rail line construction in China is a sign of the country’s progress. But developing and building metropolitan infrastructures also brings risks such as soil conditions and tight budgets. Swiss Re is instrumental in providing the expertise needed to help manage these risks.

On 15 November 2008, a portion the then-under construction Hangzhou Metro Line 1 collapsed, killing 21 people and causing vast property damage. According to authorities, inadequate safety management and poor construction were among the causes of the rail line’s collapse.

Tragic events such as the Hangzhou collapse are stark reminders of the importance of risk management in metro construction. Soil conditions, budgets and schedules, along with a shortage of experienced Swiss Re’s Global Engineering team is devoted to promoting risk management in China’s metro construction projects, not only to protect property and investments, but lives as well.  The implementation of the Joint Code of Practice for Tunnel Works (JCOP)is an example. Introduced in China in 2005, the JCOP provides a code for construction projects to ensure adequate practices.

We have also introduced international best practices for metro construction in the country by conducting site surveys. Our experienced risk management teams, consisting of project risk management, geotechnical and tunnel construction experts, help metro contractors and principals identify risks, analyze possible consequences and provide mitigation measures.

In addition, Swiss Re provides case studies of losses for clients, increasing their risk awareness and sharing best management practices from other markets. Our experts also share their knowledge by giving talks throughout the country on risk management in the metro industry and authoring research papers.

As with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau  bridge, Swiss Re is dedicated to helping China connect cities and develop its infrastructure while minimising risk – a win-win for our clients and the country at large.

Published 15 December 2011

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